Ippudo NY

photo by David Penner

Just about every neighborhood in New York can point to its local ramen shop, but none is quite like Ippudo NY, the sleek temple to Japanese soul food where you’re just about guaranteed an hours-long wait. Still, it’s an experience you should have at least once. This is one outpost of an almost-three-decades-old international empire based in Fukuoka, Japan, a city famous for its rich tonkotsu ramen built on a broth made from long-simmered pork bones. Ippudo’s international ramen master, Shigemi Kawahara, perfected the tonkotsu that graces the menu here: The broth is so heavy with collagen it’s almost creamy, and it boasts a pleasingly pungent odor. It’s lent impressive depth by springy noodles (made uptown, at Ippudo’s westside location), meltingly tender chashu pork, soft-boiled eggs, scallions, black garlic oil, and pinkish pickled ginger. Pregame your bowl with edamame, renkon chips, tuna tartare, raw baby octopus with wasabi, or (our favorite) a sweet, fatty pork bun. And be sure to check the specials list for new creations.